Of Past Days

Lately,

I have been ruminating about the past. Everyone does this to some extent or another. However, this isn’t a nostalgic feeling, it’s more like “putting things into perspective”. Why we do the things we do, who knows but it makes for some good contemplation fodder. I generally do not care too much about things in my past. People who knew me growing up tend to have more feelings of significance than I do.

As said before, this isn’t nostalgia. Its something different. It’s a realization. I realized that things were so much “simpler”. Not in the sense of just a child being blissfully unaware of things but just things tended to be more “point A to point B”. I am specifically talking about high school. While I am grateful for my high school years, I do not wish to return to them. I miss the “feeling” of my existence back then. My existence comprised of several straightforward routines. I knew few people personally. I was able to lose myself in my own reality easier. I can’t say the same thing now. My day now is constructed from several complex routines. I now have more people  I know personally. I cannot dive into myself as easily as before (even though most days it is still ridiculously easy).

It is very hard to get the feeling I am describing into words. I suppose you can call it a paradigm shift. The most frustrating part was that things got unnecessarily complicated about three years ago. There wasn’t as much red tape. I never had to deal with drama. I never had to deal with other people’s emotions as much as I do now. Even with this paradigm shift, I tried to apply old tactics to a new world. In the end, I caught the burn from the backdraft and I realized I had to reevaluate my strategy to this new battle. I had to adapt. I had to learn new tactics. My failure to relate to people, especially those of the opposite sex – would have to be reevaluated. It wasn’t something I wanted to do but if I wanted to carve out a decent existence for myself, I would have to.

I did adapt and I did get new tactics. It wasn’t easy and it took a span of several months to myself but I did it. Because of that, I now know the common denominator in existence. Evolution.

I’m not “there” yet, but I’ll get there.

 

– Scotia

Advertisements

Paragon

As one progresses through certain stages in their life, they will encounter many different people. There are many from different walks of life. That is why it is in one’s best interest to keep an open-mind when it comes to these types of things. “These things” being people in general. It helps to facilitate a good working relationship and base for your interactions with others. Not everyone is going to share the same views as that backwater town you came from.

As stated before, you meet people. You make friends from these people. You make enemies from these people. You make disguised friends from these people. Most people will usually have a good group of friends and will usually end up having a neutral relationship with them. Most people will usually not feel ambivalent or strongly about anything they do or say mainly because of the fact that these people are politically-correct and will avoid confrontation at all costs. There is nothing wrong with avoiding confrontation but when you have to compromise your opinions in the sake of being “politically-correct”, then you have a problem.

Then there will be a portion of people that usually tend to polarize people. Some will usually have a negative to extremely negative view of the person (whether justified or not) and some will have a positive to extremely positive view of the person (whether justified or not). The actual percentage breakdown is dependent on the individual. The actions that the individuals have taken to get here are also dependent as well.

As on par the course with nature, there will be some humans that will decide to rise above the quicksand that is known as complacency. They are the driven ones, they are the ones that wish to carve out a better existence for themselves and the people they are in close contact with. They wish to thrive and strive to be the best they can be. As one climbs the social, monetary, physical (insert adjective here) ladder there will be people that will drag them down.  They are known in 21st century vernacular as “haters”. Many people brag about having haters, this is quite common in our cybernarcissistic hamster-wheel attention span culture. Having haters is a sign that you’re doing something right, no? The reality is, most people have not done much of anything to justify having a large span of haters other than being a complete asshole or jerk to people they meet. These people haven’t done anything revolutionary, they haven’t done anything innovative, they haven’t done anything creative. If they have any haters, it’s because of simple asshattery, nothing more nothing less.

Then, there are the people that have a large amount of “haters” simply because they are successful in some type of mastery. Whether it be business, arts, or sciences. People will be jealous of what they cannot attain. Mastery means putting in the work and effort to become a “master” in your given field, which correlates to Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours theory. Many people are simply too lazy, unintelligent, or impatient to achieve mastery over anything. It is expected in this instant gratification culture to instantly be good at anything. No. It didn’t work for your grandparents and it sure as shit won’t work for you.

When mastery or dominance in an area is on its way to be achieved, there will be naysayers that will come out of the woodwork. Many of them will come out unexpected places. Many of them might end up being very close to you. These people will often tell you that your dreams, goals, and ambitions are foolish and you are better off doing nothing. The goal of these people is just to keep everyone who wish to follow their dreams down so that they will not have feelings of inadequacy every time they see you making a breakthrough. These people were too scared or lacked the resources to make their own breakthrough, now they are stopping yours.

The only way to reach Tahoe’s peak is to cast off these naysayers and plow ahead. A type of solipsistic self-indulgence is necessary, one that borders on the edge of narcissism in order to guard against this threat to sanity.  People gravitate towards mastery and dominance. That is why people in the upper echelons have more hangers on than they know what to do with.
The key, like everything in life, is to separate the good from the bad.

Children

Children are an interesting thing. They’re sentient enough to cause trouble, but not sentient enough to understand the gravity or the consequences of the trouble they often cause. They cost a fortune to maintain (if you’re doing your job right), and then they may often mess up a lot of your life’s plans. I could never understand why people have children. To some people they bring joy, to others; much heartache. They are the cause of a million missed appointments and time well spent at work. When I look back at my childhood, I was a relatively easy child to deal with compared to some of my contemporaries, but I guess that had a lot to do with how I was raised.

Either way, there is no sneaking around the fact that children use up valuable time and money. Still, the question remains: why do people have children? I have told myself even since a young age, that I would never have children. It is senseless. We have evolved beyond reproduction and we now have greater pursuits to worry about.

With the world in its current incarnation of FUBAR version 2.1.5, I would never bring another soul into this world. The world is so full of so many bad things and why would I want someone else to experience all of these bad things? The world has many good things, but I certainly feel that the bad things tend to outweigh the good. The fact that I would be responsible for another person possibly hating their life would kill me. I just feel that this life is pretty much like a curse and everyone who hasn’t be born got lucky. People say that if some people haven’t been born, then they wouldn’t get to experience certain good things. Well, if you don’t exist, you have no knowledge of good or bad so therefore you would not be missing out.

I feel really sorry for children that grow up in adverse environments because they didn’t choose their fate. They were placed there by someone else. A lot of people are unfit to be parents but they have children anyway. Its just simply not right to not give a child a chance. That is why all moves must be calculated beforehand.

Children get the short end of the stick. They inherit the sins of the father. They are dependent on others.They are the ones that get their opinions devalued. They have the most to lose when a parent dies or their parents split up.

People who have children, take better care of them, even if they do cause a bunch of trouble. They didn’t ask to be called Billy or Marissa or Robert. For bringing them into this messed up world, it’s the least you can do.

 

– Scotia

The Reason I Still Fight

Southern California Malibu by 45SURF Hero's Journey Mythology Goddesses on flickr

The sun beats down in the early day. Gunpowder shots deafen ears. The soldiers fall back and regroup. They run through the hilly valleys and disappear into the forests. More soldiers come into the fray from the sides, leaping over the fences and through the fields to engage in combat. Are they on the fight for the right? Whose to say.

Life is warfare. Everyone knows that. Some people are on the front lines, others fire the artillery, others give the orders. No matter where we are in the quasi-political hierarchy of life, we are all fighting for something. For some, it is love. For others, it is family. For the rest, it is for self-preservation. I fight for none of these things. I fight because I have dreams. I have a direction I want to choose in life. I have seen the future. It is murky, but it is solid. It is like peering through a rippling body of water and seeing an obelisk sitting on the floor yet not witnessing its distinct shape.

"Murky" by theothermattm on flickr

Being that I have only entered my second decade of life, my dreams and ambitions have often been derided by those that are much older than I am. These “elder statesmen” with their hubris have pushed my dreams aside like junk sitting on a work desk. I have often encountered the statements “you’re too young to know right now”, “you haven’t lived yet”, and “wait until you get my age”. These were the same people that have told me to reach for the stars and if I miss that I will land on the moon among other cliches…

I am seen as being overly ambitious and overly serious. I have been told to “lighten up”, to “live a little”. I suppose it is unusual to see someone who is 20 years old with a drive as strong as mine. As a healthy heterosexual 20 year old male, I am expected to drink as much as possible, commit reckless and often life-threatening behavior, and have as much sex before I become “tied down”. None of this has ever made much sense to me and I doubt it ever will. Since I do not conform to the behavioral standards set by a large majority of my male contemporaries, I am seen as “prudish”, “regimented”, and “odd”. In my opinion, a worldview based on finding your way inside a woman’s “Chinese box” at the end of the night is simply unsustainable and counterproductive.

I cannot blame these people, for they do not understand that I have nothing to lose but so much to gain. I have nothing to lose in the sense that I have not built anything up and I can only increase my standing. Then again, I do have something to lose. No one is waiting for me to fail with the exception of myself. If I do not reach my goals that I have set for myself, then I will consider myself a failure. The situation is too dire and the stakes are too high for me to fail, even though I hypothetically have nothing to lose.

Now that I have gone on about why I must succeed, it is a logical step to say what exactly I want out of life. The first and foremost thing I want out of life is relocation. The phrase location, location, location has always been important in life’s modern warfare and it will become ever more so within the coming years. I want to move out west. California to be more specific. I know what you’re thinking. “Everybody moves to California”. Well, there’s a good reason for that. California is known as being one of the most geographically diverse states in the continental United States and it has great temperatures all year round. However, I don’t want to move to Los Angeles and call it a day. To be more specific, I want to eventually move to this place in California called Big Sur.

Big Sur by carl_l_grant on flickr

Big Sur by karith on flickr

Big Sur by Slippy Jenkins on flickr

For those unfamiliar with Big Sur, it is a region on California’s Central Coast about a little halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It is a three hour drive to San Francisco from there and a five hour drive to Los Angeles from there, that is if you take Highway 1 and if there is no traffic. Big Sur is a popular tourist location and for good reason. It is hard for me not to think of Big Sur and think of the values of freedom, mystery, and optimism. Big Sur is just a vast wilderness that begs for the adventurous to explore her curvy bends and tall mountain valleys. It is the perfect mix of forest and coastline.

However, as with many Californian cities, real estate here is expensive. That is why it is important for me to really shoot high and develop a game plan. I know this will not happen overnight, but it will happen. It MUST happen. I do not plan on moving to Big Sur immediately. I plan on exploring other locales first. Not sure if I want to live in Southern California or some other place out West before I make the move to Big Sur later on. However, no matter where I end up in a couple years, I do feel that relocation is central to the ideals that I have in mind and the dreams I want to see fulfilled. Wanderlust. Providing for all needs without having to worry about lack of funds. A breath of fresh air. Satisfaction. A new view on life.

My current environment simply does not inspire me. It motivates me, but it does not inspire me. My primary interest in life is creating art in all forms and I feel that my current environment is stifling and not providing me with the resources I need to do some truly great things. I believe a lot of other young people can relate to my situation, especially those with lofty goals and ambitions. Many of us are stuck in limbo, that uncomfortable space of being let go from your parents’ arms and trying to remember your lessons on how to fly so that you do not hit the ground. It’s that numbing space where you are trying to establish yourself as a free thinking adult, yet you are told by others that you are naive and that you know nothing. It’s discouraging at least, completely heartshattering at the very most.

Some people may disagree with me and say that paradise is what you make it. That may be true, but I have certainly tried to make the best out of my situation and I am certainly trying. However, I have lived here for too long and I need to get out there and see some other things. I am restless and my feet agree.

This is what motivates me everyday. This is what makes me get up at 6:30 am every day. This is what creates the faint tingle that keeps me up at night. This is what makes me put my nose to the grindstone every day, making sure all the i’s are dotted and all the t’s are crossed.

Whenever I’m down and feeling as if I’m on my last legs in the midst of this unforgiving modern warfare, I just think to the future about my house in California in Big Sur overlooking the Pacific Ocean and then I feel as if for once, that everything will be alright.

– Scotia

Big Sur Sunset by sbisson on flickr

Walks

On nice days, I enjoy taking walks. They help to cleanse the palette and they create a warmness on the soul. I tend to think quite a lot when I walk, especially when observing other human beings and watching the activities of life take place. When I walk, I either have a defined destination or I just walk in a semi-roundabout way back to my starting point. If I have a defined destination, I tend to stay for a while. If I’m walking back to where I started, I tend to walk for a while. Either way, I find that being away from my original starting point gives me a new perspective on things.

On Thursday, it was a nice day in my neck of the woods. I decided to take one of these walks and see if I could figure some things out. There are certain things I find I haven’t made much progress on yet I yearn to do so. This is one of the reasons I take walks. Then there are certain things I get a better perspective on because I’m thinking about them more and more. There are things I have come to conclusions on, during my recent walks.

  • A lot of people are good people with bad tendencies. A lot of people just simply don’t know how to express this side of themselves. Everyone is capable of empathy but choose not to exercise this so that they will not appear vulnerable. In this man-to-man competition called life, I can’t really blame them. We say bad things to one another and put each other down because we are scared. Of everything.
  • There is not someone for everyone, no matter what anyone says. Some people will just end up being alone. Being that spinster with 1000 cats. Why is this? Could be a variety of reasons. Could be that there is no one compatible or could be fear of getting into some type of relationship. Some people just have certain personality traits that put them at the end of the queue for relationships. It sucks, but its one of those unfortunate things in life some people will have to deal with. Am I in this category? Maybe, maybe not. However, as the days pass and the sand slips through the hourglass, all signs are pointing to a very probable “yes”.
  • People worry too much about the unimportant things. Or maybe it’s because I find I’m not really giving too much of a shit about anything. I’ve always considered myself a laidback person and it really aggravates some people. I guess its because I’ve seen past the bullshit or maybe it’s because I couldn’t even see at all. I just figure that everyone’s going to die one day and all the little things we worry about won’t matter. Maybe I’m thinking too long term but that’s how I view it anyway.
  • People waste too much time. A lot of things aren’t streamlined. A lot of people are unfocused and blame it on external occurrences. Maybe if people stopped spending hours upon end on Facebook, the world would be a much better place. Then again, I think I’m asking for too much.
  • I’m fortunate that I have been at the right places at the right time and I have met people that have added to my life. I often wonder how my life would be different if I hadn’t met this person on this day and so on and so forth.

 

So, that’s the subject matter that I thought of on my most recent walk. Not the most enthralling subjects, but still they’re subjects nonetheless. So there you have it: things I’ve been thinking about for the past couple of days.

Can’t wait for my next walk.

 

 

– Scotia

Drifting

A faint tingle keeps me up at night…

It’s 3:02 AM here in the Western Hemisphere, Eastern Seaboard. in a haze. Its now the first day of 2012. The year we are all supposedly going to meet our cosmic end. Either way, I came into the new year once again by way of solitary confinement. 2011 was a virtually nondescript year for me. Of course with the exception of several unfortunate anomalies along the way. I don’t want to even mention the summer. The summer came and burned as always. It created its own isolation, more dystopian than idyllic. Little progress was made in those months. It wasn’t until halfway through I experienced my revelation. It broke more ground than I had ever imagined.

What will 2012 be like? I always wish I could see the future. Who doesn’t? We wish for a happy new year, but then it manages to deteriorate into something else. Broken resolutions. Lost tempers. Forgotten diets. Unclaimed gift cards. Such is life isn’t it? Isn’t that how it should be?

I met a lot of interesting people in 2011. A lot of assholes, too.

Then I started thinking. If I had the chance to disappear from this realm into that of another I would do it. I would forget all the people that I ever knew. Everyone that I ever hurt, everyone that ever disappointed me, everyone that ever brought me joy (and sadness), everyone that ever criticized me, everyone that was ever under the uncomfortable microscope of my inquisitive demeanor, I would forget them all. That would mean that I would cease to exist.

The new year is supposed to bring change. I doubt I will be able to fully change and progress unless I move from my current location. I need a breath of fresh air. A change in surrounding. Something to break up the monotony. However, I can’t do that just yet. Not just yet. And it frustrates me. So for now I am drifting. Doing all the right things. Making all the right moves. Taking the right steps. Yet still..

 

 

I just hope someone comes along and gives me a firm kick in the pants one of these days.

Because I sure as hell need it.

 

 

– Scotia

Vegetarianism

A couple of years ago, I used to be a lover of many kinds of meats. My favorite is and always was steak. However, over the years I have drastically reduced the amount of meats I consumed on a daily or weekly basis. This is all in an effort for an end result of a completely vegetarian diet. The number of people who become vegetarians is growing on a daily basis. It is not to look “trendy”, but rather for its ethical implications and benefits for mind and body.

Not too long ago, I watched this documentary called “Food Inc”. It was an inside look at the agribusiness that many rely on for their food sources. The first segment focused on the meat-packing industry. After watching the movie, it has become clear that not only is the industrial production of meat environmentally unsustainable but it raises a lot of ethical concerns as well. There are more cases of large producers of meat and chicken products getting the red flag than I’d like to remember. Whether its from sanitary concerns, incorrect advertising (as in “free range”), or just downright inhumanity to the animals, it makes me wonder if attaining meat from a large scale producer is even worth it. That is not to say all producers of meat products are criminals. There are many meat producers that invest in quality animals and dedicate time and care to making sure these animals are slaughtered correctly and “as humane as possible”. These meat products usually end up costing much more than the usual brands but they usually end up tasting better as a result. For the rest of the cultivators, meat-production is a business about profit maximization at any cost. Profit maximization when it comes to food, meat especially is bad news for the rest of us. These suppliers will use any means necessary to bolster their product, even resulting to artificial means such as growth hormone and inhumane slaughtering practices.

It is good to note where our tolerance of slaughtering animals came from. America is a nation with a Christian majority, so it is not surprising to see the doctrines of the Bible manifest themselves in our societal institutions. There is a passage in the beginning of the Bible, Genesis that states that “man shall have dominion over the earth” and all of its inhabitants. Not surprisingly, this includes animals. Many Americans have no ethical concerns over eating meat because they believe in the Christian God and one of the doctrines in the Bible is that we can eat meat because we decide the animals’ fate. Meat suppliers know and exploit this, this is why they get a free pass most of the time.

Beyond the many ethical arguments for and against vegetarianism, there are many undeniable health benefits. Many studies have shown that vegetarians on average live longer and have less diseases than those that eat meat. They also tend to have a healthier BMI than meat eaters and tend to have a healthier cardiovascular system than meat eaters. Vegetarians tend to have more energy than meat-eaters. This is no surprise considering the human body follows a strict “junk in, junk out” philosophy. Many of the obesity problems in America could be solved if people ate much more fruits and vegetables, ate less meats, and got more exercise. No “South Beach Diet” or “Weight Watchers” necessary. Many fruits and vegetables are cheaper than meat and they’re easier to make as well.

I know many people that tried a vegetarian diet. They quit after a period of time stating that “it wasn’t fun”, “they miss eating meat”, or “vegetables just don’t taste good”. Vegetarianism isn’t for everyone, obviously. However, it is worth a try to see if you would like it.

There are several types of vegetarians.

– The first one is the pescatarian. This vegetarian group only consumes fish but no other animal flesh. This is known as being “stepping stone” towards full vegetarianism.

– The second one is flexetarian/semi-vegetarian. This group occasionally eats meat but mainly sticks to a vegetarian diet. This would be I.

– The third one are the lacto-ovo vegetarians. These are the group people most think of when they think “vegetarian”. These people do not consume any type of animal flesh but will consume products made from these animals. These are dairy and eggs. There are also lacto-vegetarians, people that do not eat eggs but consume dairy products, and ovo-vegetarians: vegetarians that consume eggs but not dairy. If I were to become a vegetarian, I would most likely become a lacto-vegetarian as I do not eat eggs.

– The four group are the vegans. This group does not consume any animal flesh or product made from animals whatsoever. They also do not eat products derived from animals (no Jello). This group mainly does not consume meat for the ethical reasons behind it.

Vegetarianism also requires a lot of discipline. As aforementioned, vegetables aren’t always the best tasting food in the world and some may miss the texture of meat. It takes a lot of discipline to abandon a food that you have most likely grown up with during childhood. It also takes a lot of discipline to replace that protein that you would not gain from eating meat. Thankfully, there are many supplements and vegetables that contain high does of protein.

I view vegetarianism as a cost-effective, ethical, and healthy choice. One that a lot of people are afraid to make. Right now, I simply lack the discipline to give up meat. I enjoy eating steak and chicken occasionally. I go many days without meat and I seem to be just fine. However, giving up meat forever isn’t on my itinerary just yet. For those of you that wish for a healthier “you” in 2012, vegetarianism or semi-vegetarianism may be a step in the right direction.

– Scotia